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About Us

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My favorite travel partner in the world is my best friend and husband, Super Dave! This blog is a travel diary of both business and pleasure trips; happy reading.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

The Nephew

Not a travel post but some sick video of my nephew playing on Humes and Berg.
Humes & Berg cases

Proud to use Humes & Berg cases. Top quality and will last for many years.

Posted by Matthew Bauer on Tuesday, September 1, 2015
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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Budapest; our last day

Time to go home folks! Our European vacation to Prague, Vienna and Budapest has been beyond words amazing and has come to an end.

Today we head home but before we go; we stop off at Matthias Church which is literally; a few paces from the hotel. Mattias Church; or (Mátyás-templom) is a Roman Catholic church. It was the second largest church of medieval Buda and the seventh largest church of medieval Hungarian Kingdom.

Interior photo of the church; amazing colors are ablaze inside.
Colorful and beautiful domes inside the church.

Next year we are in Alaska and will fly to Anchorage and take a cruise along the coast line. Be sure to read along with our trip then. Bye! Pin It Now!

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Budapest Day 3

We started our day taking the The Budapest Castle Hill Funicular or Budavári Sikló; down to the hop on hop off bus. We toured the last remaining sites of our bus tour to consist of crossing Margaret Bridge, driving past St. Anne Church (Szent Anna Templom), paralleling the Danube and overlooking the Parliament and stopping at Pier 8 (last night we were at pier 7 for our dinner cruise). We got off again at the Market and from there we walked to the New York Cafe. One of the tourists on the bus yesterday recommended we dine there so we dine. Basically we can say we enjoyed an extremely overpriced meal just to say we went there.  After lunch we walked through the Budapest Ghetto; a ghetto where Jews were forced to live during the Second World War. We toured the Dohany Street Synagogue as well. Hungary has the largest Jewish population in East-Central Europe and the second largest synagogue in the world. The Jewish quarter is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage list of sights. 

Photos from today:
Riding the funicular

View from the funicular
Lamp holder faun in front of the New York Palace Cafe.
The Dohany street Synagogue and the Hungarian Jewish Museum are in the same building. The synagogue was named after the street, but it is also known as the great, or main synagogue. It is among the top 10 sights of Budapest.

Interior of the Synagogue

Memorial of the Hungarian Jewish Martyrs — at least 400,000 Hungarian Jews were murdered by the Nazis. It resembles a weeping willow whose leaves bear inscriptions with the names of victims.
St. Stephen’s Basilica is the largest church in Budapest and can hold up to 8,500 people. 
In architectural terms it’s a cathedral, it was given the title of ‘basilica minor’ by Pope Pius XI in 1931. It took 50 years to build the Basilica. Building commenced in 1851, and the inauguration ceremony took place in 1906 and was attended by Emperor Franz Joseph. During its construction, in 1868 the dome collapsed and rebuilding it had to start almost from scratch, which explains the delay in the Basilica’s completion.
Tiles in front of St. Stephen's Basilica

We finished up our night with a quick bite on the Buda Castle district side at a cute local restaurant. All the food experiences we've so had far have been great. We head back home tomorrow!

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Budapest Day 2

Ugh...vertigo! I awoke to a terrible case of vertigo which had started the previous evening. Dave spoke to the concierge who told us there was an apothecary (drug store to you Americans) just down the road. So after a wobbly walk to the drugstore; we began our day with an anti vert followed and a bus tour. The bus tour was a hop on and hop off style of tour. The bus left the Buda Castle District side of town and stopped at Gellert Hill. Gellert Hill offers one of the best panoramic views of Budapest and overlooks the Danube. Gellert Hill was named after Saint Gerard who was thrown to death from the hill. The are is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site as part of "the Banks of the Danube".
Water spigot at Gellert Hill
From there the tour took us to a selection of tourist focal points to include: crossing the Elizabeth Bridge into Pest, the Hungarian Parliament Building, up Andrassy Blvd. (where there is high end shopping), the Budapest Opera House, Liszt Ferenc Square, Heroes' Square, Keleti Railway Station, (where we arrived from Vienna) the New York Cafe, and finishing with the Hotel Astoria where we got off. We walked to a Tesco for water. After we stopped for Chinese food to use their bathroom and walked over to the market for souvenir shopping.

Various shots from our day tour.

The Great Market Hall or Central Market Hall is the largest and oldest indoor market in Budapest.
A variety of Lángos; a Hungarian food specialty. Basically it’s deep fried dough with a variety of toppings.
Couple in front of the János Arany statue. János Arany, was a Hungarian journalist, writer, poet, and translator
Heroes' Square is one of the world's oldest (opened in 1896) and has been declared a World Heritage Site. It was created at the end of the nineteenth century to commemorate the thousandth anniversary of the Magyar conquest of Hungary in 895.

After lunch and shopping we toured the Parliament Building. 

96 steps going up the stairs. The number 96 refers to the nation's millennium, 1896, and the conquest of the later Kingdom of Hungary in 896.
Lawmakers left their cigars in numbered slots and reclaimed them after exiting the main chamber. The longer the ash on the cigars, the more interesting one could expect the debate taking place to be, according to our guide.

That evening we had booked in advance our anniversary dinner cruise. During the cruise we got to see the backside of the Parliament building in all it's glory. It's gorgeous the stages of natural lighting that hit the building.
That's us!
Our dinner cruise vessel for the evening.

Which is your favorite?
Margit híd or Margaret Bridge connects Buda and Pest across the Danube. It is the second northernmost and second oldest public bridge in Budapest. This bridge leads up to Margaret Island, its two parts enclosing 165 degrees with each other at the embranchment towards the island. The reason for this unusual geometry is the fact the small extension to connect to Margaret Island was hastily inserted into the original design but not built until two decades later due to lack of funds.
 Tomorrow we will walk through the Jewish Quarter and explore more of Budapest on our own.

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Sunday, July 28, 2013


Budapest yokes together two formerly separate cities: Buda and Pest, on opposite sides of the Danube. Buda, on the West side of the river is hilly and semi-suburban, and has winding, narrow streets wending their way up into the hills. It is greener, more residential, and far harder to navigate by public transportation.  Because there are hills everywhere, and they are steep, and because the city is very old, most streets are really unable to support modern automobiles.  There’s a lot of greenery and trees, and, because the side streets are bad, people don’t easily hop into their cars to go shopping.  [Oddly, people complain constantly about the traffic in Pest, but no one seems to complain about the streets in Buda.] Pest is the urban center of the city, on the east side of the river. 

We arrived via train from Vienna at Noon to the Budapest-Keleti Railway Terminal. Immediately off the train we were greeted by a very good English speaking cab driver who insisted he help us and took our bags and transported us to the hotel. He was Hungarian but named Julio Igelesias.  He has been a driver for 35 years, no accidents and travels to Spain yearly and spoke Spanish with Dave. He was pretty aggressive and grabbed our bags and walked off to his car. We later found out from our concierge that he overcharged us; basically doubled the fare so I guess we contributed to his next trip to Spain. #LessonLearned
Inside the beautiful rail station in Budapest
Our room wasn't ready yet for us to check in so once again we waited in the Lounge and visited with our concierge who gave us many fine ideas for touring, shopping and eating.

After we arrived to our room and settled in we decided to walk the area in which we were and down a few blocks to the castle area. 
The streets are narrow and unstable with all the cobblestone
Buda Castle

Being a Sunday it was very quiet and not many tourists at all. We saw the changing of the guard at the Presidential offices, walked along the castle area (now museums) and walked back. 
Changing of the guard
 Our hotel is literally next door to St. Mattias Church which as you can see is having renovation work done on it.
Again another evening dinner in the hotel lounge and called it a night.
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Saturday, July 27, 2013

Vienna; our last day

Our last day in Vienna and quite possibly the hottest, was spent at Schönbrunn Palace. Schönbrunn Palace is a World Cultural Heritage site and Austria's most-visited sight. We ventured out purchasing an all day pass on the U (underground rail and very easy to navigate) and later found out it was good to use to get to the main train station too.
Entering the Palace
We trained over to the Palace and took the long tour. Afterward we walked out the back through the garden and up to the Cafe at The Gloriette.  

Approaching The Gloriette
The Gloriette was built in 1775. Today, the inscription of the middle part of the building still bears witness: "JOSEPHO II. AUGUSTO ET MARIA THERESIA IMPERANTIB. MDCCLXXV" (Erected 1775 under the reign of Emperor Joseph and Empress Maria Theresia). From there we walked back down over to the U and got off at the Rathaus (The Vienna City Hall). 
The Rathaus (Vienna City Hall)
Gorgeous red flowers adorn the building
As it was Saturday it was closed and also served as the site of the Film & Food Festival and was all set for that evening. We were going to walk back by the Parliament but it was just so darned hot and humid we finally called it a day a d went back to the hotel. We were so worn out that after showering and cooling off we spent the night at the Executive Lounge and stayed in our room.
Our last night in Vienna with a beautiful sunset. Goodnight and goodbye!
Tomorrow we depart for Budapest.
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Friday, July 26, 2013

Vienna Day 3

First order of the day was switching hotels. We departed the Hilton Vienna Plaza at 11AM. We took the U from Schottenring to Stadt Park and immediately checked in to the Hilton Vienna. We waited in the Executive Lounge while our room as being cleaned. It was totally worth the wait as we received a corner suite!

After getting our room situated we walked through the park back over to Albertina where we began our free walking tour; an extra from yesterday's bus tour.
One of four Lemurheads. The Four Lemurheads were mounted on the bridge (the Stubenbrücke) next to the MAK main building on the occasion of the exhibition Franz West: Merciless in 2001. Although originally planned to remain there for the term of the exhibition only, the four sculptures were given to the MAK as permanent loans and can therefore stay where they are.
Our guide was knowledgeable and helped us to see things we had not seen before. Standing at the Albertina Square we learned that there had been an apartment building at the start of WWII and it had been bombed and everyone perished. They left the square undeveloped and it was considered as a cemetery and would not be built upon.  From there we walked to the Lobkowicz Palace; the largest privately held building in the castle complex. It was the first place that Mozart performed.  From there we walked to the Augustinian Church within the Hopfburg Palace compound; the winter palace of the Hopfburgs.

Hopfburg Palace
We walked by but didn't go into the Austrian National Library and the Spanish Riding School of the Royal Lippanzaner Horses. We walked by the Royal Chapel (Burgkapelle) home to the Vienna Choir Boys. Our tour passed various sites (we didn't go in to but the guide nearly mentioned) to include the Sisi Museum, the rotunda to the entrance of the Imperial Apartments, St. Michael's Square, Römische Ausgrabungen (Roman Ruins).  We walked through the Neuer Markt (New Market) and the inner city and stopped into Demel; a historic candy and bakery restaurant then over to the Pestsäule monument.
Demel chocolate bars
We walked over to St. Stephan's and finished our tour at the Capuchin Church (Imperial Crypt) where the Hofpburg bodies are buried. Their hearts are buried in Augustinian Church; where they married one another (the wedding chapel) and their intestines are buried at St. Stephan's.
Outside of the Musikverein

Our performance we attended
When we finished our tour, Dave and I returned to St. Stephan's and toured a tower containing the original bell.  That finished our day, we returned to the hotel for drinks and snacks and to shower for our Mozart Concert which was held at the Musikverein.

The original bell

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